David Corio was born in London, England, in 1960. He began his professional career in 1978 taking photographs for New Musical Express, followed by The Face, Time Out, and Black Echoes, covering a wide range of music and portraiture. After a stint as a music writer at City Limits, he worked as a freelance photographer for the Daily Telegraph, The Times, Q, Theatre Royal Stratford, and Greensleeves Records, among others. David’s photographs have been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Photographer’s Gallery, and the Special Photographers Gallery in London; the Brownwyn Keenan Gallery and the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York; Number One Gallery in Dublin and in Osaka, Japan, and Hong Kong. David has lived and worked in London and New York City, and his work has been published in the New York Times, The Times, the Telegraph, Rolling Stone, Q and Mojo. He has also worked for the School of Visual Arts, the Swedish Institute, New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Institute for Electronic and Electrical Engineers, Greensleeves Records,VP Records, Heartbeat Records, Universal Music Group, EMI and Island Records. A comprehensive collection of David’s photographs of black musicians was published in The Black Chord (Universe, 1999, text by Vivien Goldman). Megaliths, a 14-year project photographing the prehistoric standing stones of England and Wales, with text by Lai Ngan Corio, was published by Jonathan Cape/Random House in 2003. The Couture Accessory (text by Caroline Rennolds Milbank, styling by Lai Ngan Corio) a book of haute couture accessories was published by Abrams in 2002. (davidcorio.com)
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David Corio wrote stage-photography.com on 31 March 2011
(1) This is a portrait of Eric Clapton appearing surprisingly relaxed. It was just a snatched shot which can sometimes work better than trying to organize or pose someone as your subject will often immediately freeze in front of the camera. I took two shots in a bright shaft of sunlight. He is pictured standing by the sound stage door shortly after he had finished a sound-check with Sly & Robbie – they were to play together as part of Island Records 25th anniversary celebration at Pinewood Studios the next day. This combination of talents worked perfectly – they had the freeflowing feel of a band who had been playing together for years and their mixture of blues and reggae blended seamlessly. As far as I know they only played this one time together. It was a brilliant concert and party and the list of stars playing together was unbelievable – Aswad with Troublefunk, Lee Perry with Jon Martyn to name a few.
(2) This is John Lydon at a photo call to publicize a Public Image Ltd tour and the release of ‘This Is Not A Love Song’. The Fleet Street paparazzi were out in force, jostling each other in front of John and trying to get his attention with shouts of “Oi, Johnny!” or “Johnny Rotten, this way mate.” As usual, John was not responding. He appeared to despise the press. I thought a shot of him with the press photographers as a backdrop would be interesting so I moved behind him. I wondered how his mum might call him when he was a child. In a flash of inspiration I piped up in a high-pitched voice: “Oh Jonathan!” and he looked round immediately. I snatched this shot.
(3) Spoonie Gee was in London promoting his debut album ‘Godfather of Hip Hop’. The Harlem-born rapper had been one of the first on the scene releasing records since the 1970s. Along with several pioneering artists who haven’t received the acclaim they deserve, Spoonie was probably too ahead of his time. His lyrics about prison life were around long before gangsta rap came to the fore and some of his old school raps such as ‘Spoonin’ Rap’, ‘I’m All Shook Up’ have rarely been bettered. Spoonie seemed to be a very quiet and humble man and wasn’t into the stock in trade hip hop poses or fashions. This might have hampered his career where image is so important, but listen to his music and you’ll soon realise how important he is to the history of hip hop.
(4) This is U2 on the roof of the Cork Country Club Hotel before they had got a record deal. This was my first job ‘abroad’ for NME and I was very excited. However U2 were clean-living boys who drank in moderation and my visions of rocking parties evaporated rapidly. Bono hero-worshipped David Bowie and often refered to him in conversation. Even then the 19 year old lead singer was very vocal about his opinions and was the band’s spokesman. There were two shows in Dublin and Cork where U2 were the main attraction. Between those dates the band went on a small tour of the southern Irish counties, as a support to Irish show bands who played the current top ten hits. In the village hall venues the largest audiences were generally about 50 people. Very few had come to see U2 – but the band won the audience over very easily. Just a few years later they would be selling out stadiums.
(5) I’d met Feargal Sharkey as he left a rehersal room on Holloway Road in north London late one evening. I shot some portraits of him under a street light as I didn’t have any lights or flashgun with me. It occurred to me as we passed a launderette that this was the best lit location in sight and that’s how this photo happened. It was a quiet session as Feargal didn’t speak much and I tend to go with the subject’s mood. The Undertones were a great pop punk band from Derry in Northern Ireland and Feargal’s distinctive quavering voice made them stand out. The band’s first album ‘The Undertones’ featuring the classic song ‘Teenage Kicks’ John Peel’s favourite song of all time had been released not long before I took this picture.